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Including person-centred approaches and user involvement in Integrated Housing & Support: the TOPHOUSE project launched at international level

In the framework of the Zero Project Conference 2019, the TOPHOUSE Forum on Integrated Housing & Support has taken place in Vienna (Austria). More than 50 participants have discussed the benefits of developing effective housing and support networks in different European countries.

It is an objective of many organisations working with people with support needs to include person-centred approaches in their offers and services, and some are even creating new approaches based on them to adapt their current services to Human Rights standards. Many of these new models and approaches have been presented in the TOPHOUSE Forum, held on 22nd February at the 2019 Zero Project international Conference organised at United Nations in Vienna (Austria). They were selected as promising practices for the TOPHOUSE report “Study on Promising Practices in Integrated Housing & Support”.

Participants have agreed that even if new models exist, there are limits to the organisations due to structural framework conditions in many European countries. In practice, most persons with disabilities still live in institutions, segregated from mainstream society, and this contributes to the stigmatisation of disadvantaged persons. Improving coordination between government bodies, personalised support plans and the development of a new professional profile or occupation - creating curricula, trainings and certifications- have been identified as key success factors to promote the development of person-centred practices in social housing.
Effectively assessing someone’s need for housing & support, allocating appropriate housing and ensuring appropriate support from a range of agencies has never been more difficult. User involvement at all stages of the allocation process needs much more attention and the Erasmus + funded project TOPHOUSE is developing a series of training materials to help housing and support providers to do this job better. The support that a person needs may be available in many different places, provided by formal carers but also by family members or extended circles of support. The TOPHOUSE project will continue raising awareness on the need of establishing strong networks where all relevant actors are involved, driven by persons with disabilities and their families.

For more information, please contact Carmen Arroyo de Sande, EASPD Development Manager ( )

Note to editors

TOPHOUSE (Towards Person Centred Housing Services in Europe) is an Erasmus+ funded project (running from December 2017 until November 2019) addressed to define, refine and formally establish the competences of professionals in the processes of assessment, housing & support/care provision.
TOPHOUSE provides updated, dedicated staff training to do this job better, along with the means to promote improved inter-agency working to deliver related non-housing support on a person-centred basis. The project is led by the Essl Foundation (AT) and has partners in Austria (JAW), Belgium (EASPD), Finland (ASPA), Ireland (ICSH), Spain (Support Girona) and the UK (Homeless Link).